Hoopskirts, Rifles & Unusual Hats

Anna Elizabeth Henry

1st Lieutenant
Silver Patron
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
3,516
Location
New York, New York
#1
IMG_0906.JPG

Found the photograph on Tumblr today while searching for ACW images. I believe it's era judging from the dresses (or maybe a little later), but given the one young lady's leather satchel and water pouch (at least that's what I think it is!), coupled with the rifle, I'd say its done in a military style, but it's sending a mixed message given their seemingly normal attire. I've seen female militia photos of later eras with women in uniforms and have seen ACW era ladies wearing something from a husband/brother while holding a rifle, too. But the below seems unique to me. I also wondered if it could be foreign. Any thoughts?

[
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

James B White

Captain
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
6,169
#2
I think that's a powder flask, but those who know more about guns will be along shortly. I think the matching feathers give it an American Indian look, as if they're trying to look wild and western, not that they really are Indians, but have no idea what they're doing. Based on the hairstyles with the hair upswept and showing the whole ears, I'd put it just postwar.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
3,148
Location
Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
#3
Dresses and hats look a bit more like later 1860s. Skirts got flatter in front (with more poof in back) the latter half ot the decade, leading into the bustle era. That may not be true of the dress on the right, though. The hats on top of the heads (to give more height rather than broadening the face) also look postwar.

Of course these trends started before the end of the war, so this could be 1864-65. However, the Wild West theme would also indicate post war.

Means of dating CDVs I've read about would involve seeing the back of the photo and feeling the cardstock, a bit difficult for an online image!
 

Booner

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 4, 2015
Messages
2,143
Location
Boonville, MO
#5
I'm thinking instead of a powder flasks, they both have shot flasks. It looks to me that both ladies have shotguns; the lady standing gun is a single barreled gun. There would be a button that would be pressed so that cylinder that is just above the spout would fill up with a measured amount of shot, release the button and no more shot would go into the cylinder, then your pour it down the barrel
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
18,396
Location
Central Pennsylvania
#9
The seated woman has a shotgun. The one standing is holding a rifle. You can just make out the thick barrel. I'd say they were a hunting or shooting family. The youngest girl is wearing a remarkably simple looking dress. Too bad it's not in color; they're probably all wearing "muddy girl" camo. :bounce:

It's a decade later but there's a photo of my grgrandmother wearing a dress so similar to this- almost exactly? Her elder sister and mother are dressed to the teeth. She's around this age, too. Being clueless on what young girls wore, didn't want to mention it. It's the first time I've seen another like it. There's something to ask the experts- was there a kind of in-between dress for young girls? Not what we see on children, not quite what adults wore.
 

Poor Private

First Sergeant
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
1,420
#10
Nah, it' s powder flask, to big for the shot and would be to heavy to carry around. The possible bag at her side holds the caps, and shot or bullets. Also anything else, that's why it's called a possible bag. I also noticed that the seated lady seems to be carrying a shotgun.
 

Anna Elizabeth Henry

1st Lieutenant
Silver Patron
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
3,516
Location
New York, New York
#11
Thanks for the input everyone. I agree with some of the comments that it has a very Western feel to it. It's definitely an interesting photo, shame the site didn't mention anything identifying about the ladies - who I do assume are sisters since there's a strong resemblance in the two older ones. I feel like such a dunce for not realizing the flask was for gunpowder and not water :redface:

It's a decade later but there's a photo of my grgrandmother wearing a dress so similar to this- almost exactly? Her elder sister and mother are dressed to the teeth. She's around this age, too. Being clueless on what young girls wore, didn't want to mention it. It's the first time I've seen another like it. There's something to ask the experts- was there a kind of in-between dress for young girls? Not what we see on children, not quite what adults wore.
Older girls in the era wore similar dresses to adult women in style, but typically wore lower necklines, shorter hemlines, and short sleeves for daytime wear, whereas women would only wear that style in the evenings - minus the shorter hemline. So, the youngest girl fits the description with her short sleeves and more open neckline. However, the lady seated has a lower neckline, I think - providing what looks like exposed skin isn't actually a very light colored shirt that is indistinct because of the B&W photograph.
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
10,216
#14
I don't think these ladies are just costumed up and posing. They are the real deal. I'm confident they know how to handle those firearms. The seated lady is holding a very nice quality double barreled shotgun. It is intended as a sporting firearm. It features back action locks and a very nicely finished stock. It has a very ornate trigger guard which might even be made of horn. I have seen European sporting guns with trigger guards of that type. The girl on the right is, indeed, holding a rifle with a heavy barrel. Note the diameter of her ram rod--small relative to the outside dimension of her barrel. Both of these ladies have powder flasks. The seated lady's flask is a little difficult to see in the folds of her dress. She has a metal flask, while the standing lady might, indeed, have a shaped leather flask. I'll bet the third lady is a shooter, too, but I can't say why she's not carrying her gun for this photo.
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
10,216
#16
As someone who sewed a lot when younger, I was struck by the cheap fabric, simple design (that nice jacket belonged to another outfit) and seeming lack of hems. I think they are costumed for something, whether or not they know how to shoot.
You make good observations--ones that I would obviously miss. Pretty fascinating to speculate about old pics like this, isn't it?
 

Pvt.Shattuck

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
1,835
Location
Tampa, FL
#18
The young lady on the left has mismatched sleeves. Her left sleeve is puffy with lots of material while the right fits snug to her shoulder. That dress was made for shooting. These are almost certainly Western ladies and they are the real deal.
Great American image!
My guess is a post-war railroad shooting party. Would they have used those weapons for buffalo ?
 

Frums

Corporal
Joined
Aug 5, 2016
Messages
308
Location
York, PA
#20
From Victorianweb.org ...

With the massive arrangement of hair at the back of the head in the late 1860s and early 1870s, bonnets had to be worn further forward, the front curving fronijust above the hair-line to behind the ears where the ribbons were attached, the back cut away to allow the hair to flow freely. At this time hats were also perched on the forehead; a pillbox shape is sometimes referred to as a casquette, a name also applied to a hat following the lines of the Scotch glengarry cap.

These hats look very close to the Scotch Glengarry style cap. That would most likely put this photo Post-ACW but not by much.
 



Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top